known as Die Kasteel or The Castle
Built by the Dutch East India Company between 1666 and 1679, the Castle is the oldest building in South Africa.
It replaced an older fort called the Fort de Goede Hoop, which was made out of clay and timber and built in 1652 by Jan van Riebeeck upon his arrival at the Cape. The purpose of the Dutch settlement in the Cape was to act as a replenishment station for ships passing the treacherous coast around the Cape on long voyages between the Netherlands and the Dutch East Indies.
During 1664, tensions between Britain and the Netherlands rose with rumours of war being imminent—that same year, Commander Zacharias Wagenaer was instructed to build a pentagonal fortress out of stone. On 26 April 1679, the five bastions were named after the main titles of William III of Orange-Nassau: Leerdam to the west, with respectively Buuren, Katzenellenbogen, Nassau and Oranje clockwise from it.
In 1936 the Castle was declared a national monument. Extensive restorations completed during the 1980s make the Castle the best preserved example of a VOC fort.
The Castle acted as local headquarters for the South African Army in the Western Cape, but today houses the Castle Military Museum and ceremonial facilities for the traditional Cape Regiments.
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